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Big Blue Sky

Get me away from this mud Palm Beach Pop Festival 1969

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Interview by New Wave Rock Feb 1979. 

  • NWR: "Didn't you go to any of those big outdoor concerts when you were younger?"
  • Tom: "I went to one in Florida because the Stones were playing. I was never into that hippie thing. The whole time I was saying 'Get me away from this mud. What is this anyway? This is no way to enjoy rock 'n' roll.' I couldn't enjoy it because I was fighting the elements. It's not fair to charge people $15 and treat them like cattle. Those things are gonna die."


So... some research findings to share with you. Rolling Stones played in Florida in 1965 (Keith Richards write the riff for "Satisfaction" in his sleep). But those concerts were indoors. During Nov 1969 they toured again, initially ending with Madison Square Gardens (basis for the album Get Your Ya-Yas Out). Then they agreed to play for 2 outdoor festivals: Palm Beach Pop Festival for Thanksgiving... and Altamont Speedway.

We know about the situation at Altamont, but not so much about Palm Beach. Apparently 40, 000 people turned up at Palm Beach, and it sounds like one of those was a 19-year-old Tom Petty!! If he graduated in 1968 and went to Tampa / St Petersburg for a few months in 1968 & 1969, I imagine that by Nov 1969 he was back in Gainesville, with The Epics slowly changing into Mudcrutch.

One site (by people who were there) said it rained & they were all so cold that people ripped wooden outhouses / toilets down & burned them for heat. The bands arrived by helicopter from their hotels, while the crowd were there for the entire long weekend, sleeping on the ground, in tents or in cars.




1969 Palm Beach Pop Festival (5).jpg


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Cool story.  Those festivals were everywhere in 1969.  We had one called the Seattle Pop Festival just a few weeks before Woodstock, in a spot that's actually pretty near where I live.  Led Zeppelin, The Doors, The Byrds, The Guess Who, Ten Years After, Gram Parsons with The Flying Burrito Brothers, and many more.  Sadly, I was too young to attend or appreciate. My first show was about 4 years later.


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Ok. So, the down? Mud. The up? Some of the best band to ever grace the quaternary era.... As if a pair of waders wouldn't be the best price ever, for an experience of a lifetime...

Personally, I'd take mud over volkswagen sponsored world tours, live nation trickery, golden circles, swag bags and Facebook ticket lotteries, any day. But I know that is just me. The state of the earth tells me I'm going solo, so to speak.

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^^^^ :D

personal bias = OMG High Grass Dog, if it is!!! I kinda wondered too... It jumped out at me when I was scrolling through images online, but I didn't want to be posting it here & making any big claims.

historical analysis: In  Nov 1969, MC & RM would have been just starting their 2nd academic year at college in Gainesville. So that's a possible maybe... (unless they were too broke to afford the $20 ticket)???


some more images?

"Leather boots are still in style for manly footwear / Beads and leather sandals won't be seen."image.thumb.jpeg.e335da915031d8a3989b5d1bfd03f535.jpeg

Transport for the musicians:


Mick Jagger at 4 am:


Johnny Winter:


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Well, about the guys in the mud, it might be helpful to compare them against a photo of Mike Campbell from soon afterwards...

You'll see I've cropped this from that photo by Red Slater (in Mudcrutch vault) of the first time Tom Petty & Mike Campbell met at Mudcrutch Farm. Which would've been in, what, late 1969 / early 1970? 



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